Indian community to decide when I should quit: Samy Vellu

February 20th, 2008 - 4:13 pm ICT by admin  


Kuala Lumpur, Feb 20 (IANS) Battling pre-poll blues, Malaysian Indian leader S. Samy Vellu said he is ready to quit “even now”, but wants the two million-plus Indian community, and not anyone else, to decide the timing of the move. “I am prepared but the decision must be made by the Indian community and not by outsiders because I represent the Indians in the government,” he was quoted as saying in The Star newspaper Wednesday.

Amid speculation that he might be grooming his son Vel Paari, Vellu, 72, said this is the last time he is contesting from Sungai Siput, his parliamentary constituency for long.

“I will contest this term and next term I won’t go for it. This may be my last term,” he said.

Vellu, long-time president of the Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC), said if the Indian community decided they did not want him he was prepared to go “even now.”

He said there was no rift between him and his deputy president G. Palanivel, and alleged that certain Tamil language newspapers were trying to “destroy the MIC” by reporting that there was a leadership rift.

“There are also lots of people trying to do that (create a rift) but we will not allow that to happen,” he said, stressing that he would hand over the party to his deputy when the time comes.

“When you want to destroy a party, you must divide the leaders in the party,” he said and added: “A lot of people are trying to do that. We will not allow that to happen.”

“I will give way at an opportune time. If I just leave the party now, the party will be in disarray.

“It is not that I wish to go on for another 100 years. Everybody has a time to go,” he said.

Unhappy with the lawmakers in the House that was dissolved last week, paving the way for early elections March 8, Vellu said: “I have decided to put in new faces, including professionals and party members, who are very active in political work even if they are not highly qualified.”

On reports that certain Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC) divisions were asking for locals to be fielded in MIC state constituencies, Vellu said the seats did not belong to the divisions but to the party.

On the Hindu Rights Action Front (Hindraf) supporters who blocked his car last Saturday, he said: “They asked me to tell Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to release the 180 people detained for taking part in an illegal assembly in Kuala Lumpur.

“They did not talk anything about politics. This does not indicate that they hate me,” he said.

Vellu, who is the works minister, has been critical of Hindraf after the organisation courted controversy by staging protest marches that the government has declared illegal.

Besides the detention of the rally participants, the government has held five of the top Hindraf leaders - M. Manoharan, 46, P. Uthayakumar, 46, V. Ganabatirau, 34, R. Kengadharan, 40 and K. Vasantha Kumar, 34, for two years in jail under the stringent Internal Security Act.

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